Holiday Hazards- Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! While it is a fun holiday to celebrate with the exchange of cute cards and sugary sweets, it can come with some dangers for our furry friends.

These dangers come primarily in an edible form for Valentine’s Day in foods that contain chocolate and xylitol, an artificial sweetener.

Chocolate, as many people know, is toxic to dogs and cats. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate is, the worse it is for pets. Small doses of chocolate can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Very large doses can lead to heart problems, seizures and death. If your pet eats chocolate, please let your veterinarian know the size of your pet, the type of chocolate they ate and your best guess as to how much your pet ate.

Xylitol is an “up and coming” toxin in pets as it is becoming more prevalent in human products. Before feeding anything to your pet, make sure you check the ingredients (including the “inactive” ingredients) list to make sure there is not any xylitol in it. Xylitol has been in sugar-free chewing gum for many years but is recently making its way into other products like peanut butter, sugar free candies, toothpaste, essential oils and over the counter medications.  If your pet (dogs, especially) is exposed to xylitol, please get them to their veterinarian right away as xylitol toxicity can start causing signs within 10 minutes of ingestion. Early signs can include weakeness, lethargy, incoordination, vomiting and seizures. Xylitol ingestion can progress to liver failure.

As always, prevention is worth a pound of cure, so please keep human foods and products out of reach of your furry companions so everyone can have a Happy, healthy, Valentine’s Day.